Friday, June 17, 2011

And the Winner Is ...

Today's lucky winner of the Swallows an Amazons book by Arthur Ransome is Debbie.  Congratulations!  Watch for an e-mail for further information.  Thank you and Blessings to all who entered!  Watch here for more upcoming giveaways.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Things I'm Thankful for Today - because a little reflection on the week is a good thing:

  • My family, my friends and my great big God
  • The sunshine after so many blah days 
  • The opportunities we get to help someone else (physical assistance, emotional support, material needs, prayer, just being there) because it is a win/win opportunity and also often very encouraging for ourselves and humbling.
  • The ability to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to two great kids--who thankfully are less than perfect, just like their mom
  • My husband, my best friend, confidant, and provider for our family
  • The many friends I've met over the last year through the TOS Review Crew

Each Thursday I'll be focusing on the person/thing I'm most thankful for that week in the following categories:

  1. I'm so thankful for __insert name__ this week because__________________
  2. The best provision I'm most thankful for this week was_________________
  3. A Bible verse about thankfulness
  4. The thing I'm most thankful for learning this week would be______________
  5. I'm thankful that I don't have _______________________________
Don't forget to stop by, read the post, and leave a comment as to what you're thankful for. 

**Ok, so I missed Titus 2sday and Wishing Wednesday this week.  I guess I was overly optimistic in trying to get 7 days of new posts this week.  Hoping to actually have my act together next week.  Check back here and hold me accountable next week if you're able.

****Don't forget about the Swallows and Amazons book giveaway I posted for this week.  The winner will be randomly drawn at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Blessings to you and yours!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey, It's a Giveaway - Swallows & Amazons Book

It's a Giveaway!!

Looking for some great summer reading?  How about this one? 

Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
(Juvenile Fiction)
$14.95 - Paperback - 351 pages
ISBN: 0-87923-573-X
A Godine Storyteller
David R. Godine, Publisher
Box 450
Jaffrey, NH 03452

This is a fun book, originally published in 1930, for children and adults.  A story about the Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat Island, the catboat Swallow and Nancy and Peggy Blackett.  Think boats, islands, fishing and camping.  This is the first in a series of 12.  Excellent Summer reading for family read-aloud or for youth and adults who enjoy adventure and imagination.   This book is used in Ambleside Online (year 3) curriculum, the Catholic Robinson Homeschool Curriculum and others.

Other books by this author include:
  • Swallowdale
  • Peter Duck
  • Winter Holiday
  • Coot Club
  • Pigeon Post
  • We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea
  • Secret Water
  • The Big Six
  • Missee Lee
  • The Picts and the Martyrs
  • Great Northern?
  • Bacundra's First Cruise
  • Rod and Line (Fishing Essays)
  • Old Peter's Russian Tales
  • Autobiography
To enter this giveaway tell me what topic my Thursday posts are about - leave a comment.  For a second entry tell me what you're reading this Summer - leave a separate comment.  For a third entry add a smile to your comment. 

If you want to see more on this blog and keep up with the homeschool product reviews I will be doing this year by all means follow me through Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs on Facebook or "like" my Pondering on the Prairie page on Facebook.

The random drawing for this giveaway will be June 17th at 8 a.m.  Winner will be announced here and sent an email for address confirmation.  Good Luck!

Mostly Trivia -- A Bit of This, A Bit of That and Modest Swimwear

What to do?  What to do?  For this first post of Mostly Trivia my overloaded brain is trying to decide which might be more fun to share--useful trivia or fun trivia.  I think a bit of both for today.  Take a break for a few and join me.

First, lose that Monday stress - according to research, Monday is the most common day for heart attacks.  Go here for more about the research.

To lose that Monday morning stress:

Can you name 5 characters from 5 different Disney Movies?  We had fun with this as we tried to name as many characters, A-Z, that we could think of from all of our Disney animated movies.  It turns out there's an A-Z list of these characters, with the name of their movie and the name of the person who did their voice,  on Wikipedia here or go to Listology here for an alphabetical list of every animated movie ever created (according to them).  Yes, there are plenty of other lists of this information on the Internet, these are just two we used for reference.

Hey, here's some interesting stuff--on this day, June 13th, in 
  • 1926 Paul Lynde, comedian (Uncle Arthur-Bewitched) was born
  • 1962 Ally Sheedy, actress (St Elmo's, Short Circuit, Maid to Order) was born
  • 1979 Darla Hood, actress (Little Rascals) died
  • 1986 Benny Goodman the "King of Swing" died 
  • 1898 Yukon Territory of Canada organized and Dawson was chosen as the capital
  • 1927 Ticker-tape parade welcomed Charles A Lindbergh to NYC
  • 1940 Paris was evacuated before the German advance
  • 1967 Thurgood Marshall was nominated as 1st black Supreme Court justice
  • 1983 Pioneer 10 became the 1st man-made object to leave the Solar System
  • Go to the Today-in-History page here to see what else happened today over the years.

And finally, a piece of useful trivia--

Like many girls and women, this time of year is frustrating for me because it's so difficult to find modest swimwear.  Check out these websites I found for some new options:

Modest Clothing has information about swimwear from
  • Girls4Sport
  • Lime Ricki
  • Hapari
  • Becoming Swimdress
  • HydroChic

FashionBelle Modest Clothing also lists quite a few options including
Come back tomorrow for Titus 2sday!  Blessings to you and yours!

Just a thought . . .
Why doesn't spell-check kick out 2sday as a misspelled word?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pondering Some Changes on the Prairie

Well, it’s been about a year now since starting this blog, so time for some Spring changes. Watch for these daily topics as they grab your interest – looking forward to hearing from my readers with their thoughts and ideas. Starting next week here’s what will be posting each week.

Monday - Mostly Trivia (Exactly what it says)

Tuesday – Titus 2sdays (Titus 2 topics)

Wednesday – Wishing Wednesdays (If fishes were wishes . . .)

Thursday – Thankful Thursdays (Contemplating all to be thankful for)

Friday – F.R.O.G. Fridays (Fully Rely On God)

Saturday – Simple Saturdays (Just keeping it simple)

Sunday – Slow Down Sundays (Reflecting on what's been, what's coming and relaxing before Monday)

You’ll still be seeing The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Product Reviews, some other reviews (DVD, books, etc.), some great giveaways and helpful links. I’m hoping to put together a list of Monthly Projects to do with your kids too. Come check out what’s happening while I’m out here Pondering on the Prairie.  See you Monday for Mostly Trivia! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blue Ribbon Award Winners - Top Products as Chosen by TOS Review Crew

Well, the 2010-11 Review Crew year has officially ended.  That means the Review Crew was recently asked to vote for our favorite products/curriculum from the many things we reviewed this year.  (See my archived posts to check out my reviews for the year.)  Vendors whose products received the most votes from the Crew were announced today. 

Congratulations to the 2011 TOS Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon Award winners!  To see all of the winners listed on TOS Homeschool Crew website click here.  

It was a great year with lots of variety. Wow, what a blessing!  Although challenging at times, it was fun, educational and a growing process.  Later in June I'll begin reviewing for the 2011-12 Review Crew.   Watch for new reviews coming up   Blessings!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Read For The Heart - Whole Books For Wholehearted Families - A TOS Review

Read For The Heart
Whole Books For WholeHearted Families
Sarah Clarkson 
Apologia WholeHeart Faith-Building Tools For The Family
ISBN 978-1-932012-97-2  (2009)
384 pages, paperback

Apologia Educational Ministries

1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016 US
Phone: (888)524-4724
Fax: (765)608-3290

Did you know readers of literature are more likely to perform volunteer and charity work, visit art museums, attend performing arts events and attend sporting events?  Did you know researchers have found a link between reading and income, job success, and health as well as a person's involvement in politics, charity, and the arts?

As a member of the TOS Review Crew recently I've been reading Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson.  What a great way to end the 2010-2011 Crew Review year!  Read on to find out more of her ideas on reading and the importance of fostering a love for books.
According to Sarah Clarkson, the author of Read for the Heart, reading is in decline because it has ceased to be passed on in a personal way from generation to generation.  Sarah shares statistics and trends which suggest that we are moving toward an "alarmingly illiterate society".  In her book, Sarah encourages that deep thought must be revived as families commit to passing on the "delight and importance" of reading to the next generation.  She strongly advises us to make reading a habit through family read-aloud times.
Some of the suggestions in her book include establishing a regular reading hour every day, replacing TV at night with family read-aloud sessions, making weekly trips to the library to obtain new books, including read-aloud times as part of your child's education, making individual read-aloud dates with your children and filling baskets for each of your children with a variety of books.  To help foster this habit, and hopefully love, of reading Sarah shares book lists of the many books she has read.  She admits that other classics could have been included, but prefers to share the books she's read and enjoyed. 
The book reviews/recommendations contained in this book include author, date of original publication, award, illustrator, general age category, a short review and cautions regarding content.  Books in the lists are divided into young child (through age 8), elementary (ages 8-12), junior high (ages 12 and up), high school, and family.  There are lists of Boys' Favorites, Beloved Girls' Books and Family Read-Aloud Favorites.  Audiobooks are also said to be a good option.  To find these books Sarah suggests library sales, used book stores, thrift shops, online booksellers and eBay. 
Chapters Include:

  • Reading to Live
  • Reading Lost: The State of Literacy in America
  • Life by Books:  How to Begin
  • A Roadmap for Using This Book

  • Picture Books (including some favorites like the Billy and Blaze series, the Brambly Hedge Seasons series, the Madeline series, the Paddington series, and books by Jan Brett, Margaret Wise Brown, Barbara Cooney, Marguerite de Angeli, Tommie dePaola, Margaret Early, James Herriot, Russell Hoban, Steven Kellogg, Robert McCloskey, Patricia Polacco, Tasha Tudor, Jane Yolen and many others)

  • The Golden Age Classics (including Winnie-the-Pooh, The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Heidi, Treasure Island, Little Women, The Water-Babies, Kidnapped, The Jungle Book, Anne of Green  Gables and quite a few more) 

  • Children's Fiction (including Mr. Popper's Penguins, Tuck Everlasting, Caddie Woodlawn, the A Little Maid series, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The Tale of Despereaux, My Side of the Mountain, books by Elizabeth Goudge, Margeurite Henry, Brian Jacques, Patricia MacLachlan, Ralph Moody, Arthur Ransome, Patricia St. John, Andrew Svenson, Laura Ingalls Wilder and many other favorites)

  • Fairy Tales and Fantasy (including Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, The Pilgrim's Progress, the Fairy Book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and many more)

  • History and Biography (including Adam and His Kin, Archimedes and the Door of Science, The Children's Homer, The Bronze Bow, The Door in the Wall, The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, Joan of Arc, Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims, Indian Captive and books by Elizabeth Geoge Speare, Kate Waters, N.C. Wyeth, Elizabeth Yates, Ralph Moody, Brinton Turkle, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carl Sandburg, Hilda van Stockum and quite a few others) (also including historical children's series such as those by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Genevieve Foster, Jean Fritz, Cheryl Harness and G.A. Henty) 

  • Spiritual Reading for Children (including Kay Arthur's Inductive Bible Studies for Kids, A Child's Book of Character Building, How the Bible Came to Us, Beautiful Girlhood, the Trailblazer Series, Hero Tales, Lamplight Publishing's Rare Collector Series, and the Youth With a Mission Christian Heroes: Then and Now series in addition to a few others)

  • Poetry (including A Child's Treasury of Poems, Something Big Has Been Here, Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, Sterling Publishing's Poetry for Young People series and several others)

  • Music, Art, and Nature (including Anna Harwell Celenza's Composer series, Susan Hammond's Classical Kids audio series, Ann Rachlin's Famous Children series, Linnea in Monet's Garden, Gladys Blizzard's Come Look With Me series, Colleen Carroll's How Artists See series, Apologia's Young Explorer Series, Peterson's Field Guides and First Guides, The Magic School Bus series and plenty more)

  • Epilogue

  • Six appendices including
     Appendix 1:  Caldecott Medalists
     Appendix 2:  Newbery Medalists
     Appendix 3:  Historical Fiction by G. A. Henty
     Appendix 4:  Landmark History Books
     Appendix 5:  The Trailblazer Series
     Appendix 6:  A Few of My Favorite Things

  • Endnotes
  • Index of Authors and Illustrators
  • Index of Titles

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  The author has a real passion for books and reading.  Sarah's ideas and suggestions are quite encouraging.  She reminded me of favorite books from my childhood and gave me ideas of more favorites to introduce to my children.  Although we have not done nearly as much read-aloud time as I would like, this book reinforced all the reasons for spending more time reading to my children, and myself.  Now we have new lists of great books to find and read besides the thousands we own.  This book contains no "fluff", just great ideas and useful information.  The layout is engaging and easy-to-read.  Sarah's heart for books and her Christian beliefs and worldview make this book a real treasure with many lists of good-quality, wholesome, entertaining and educational books for the whole family.  In my opinion, this is definitely a good read and worthy of a place on every parents bookshelf.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd have to give this a 14. 
To see what other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew had to say about this book click here 

To view the Apologia catalog online or request a catalog click here

To see a sample chapter click here

To see other products available from Apologia click here

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew I received a free copy of Read for the Heart from Apologia in order to read it and give my thoughts/opinions in this review.  I did not receive any further compensation.  Thoughts and opinions stated are my own.  I am  not obligated to provide a positive review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eagles Wings - Considering God's Creation - Science - TOS Review

P.O. Box 502
Duncan, OK 73534
Considering God's Creation $29.95
Additional Workbook $13.95
Replacement audio CD $ 3.00
We've been checking out a great science program from Eagle's Wings Educational Materials, Considering God's Creation - A Creative Biblical Approach to Natural Science. 

This natural science program is an elementary earth and life science program adaptable for 2nd to 7th Grade.  The program includes a 272-page book plus a Teacher's Manual with a free audio CD.  All pages of both books are black and white.  Photocopying of workbook pages for your immediate family is permitted.  In addition to learning a lot about science, this program teaches your child to discern evolution and creation in things they read, watch and hear.

The Teacher's Manual includes:

Table of Contents

Lesson Plans:  The 36 lessons are intended to be used once a week for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  The materials presented and the accompanying activities are easily adaptable to teach multiple ages of children at the same time.  This program can be used as a stand alone curriculum or in addition to any other science program.  You can even stretch out the program to cover 2 to 3 years or repeat the book again for review when your child is older and complete the "Digging Deeper" activities.  Review questions, crossword puzzles and notebooking are used to ensure mastery of the lessons.  Your child will practice handwriting, learn vocabulary, write compositions, learn Bible verses, learn poems and songs, do art-type activities and learn a bit of history all while having fun learning science.  Additionally, the completed notebook will be a great reference for your child to review and wonderful documentation for what your child has learned during the year.  And, even better, your child will learn all of these things from the perspective of a Christian worldview.

Creation (Lesson 1)

The Universe:  Stars, Sun and Planets (Lessons 2-4)
  • My Place in the Universe
  • Our Solar System
  • Getting to Know the Planets
The Earth (Lesson 5)
  • Our Planet Earth
  • Light
  • The Earth
  • The Atmosphere
Non-Living Things:  Rocks and Minerals (Lesson 6)
  • Rocks
  • Igneous Rock
  • Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rock
  • Becoming a Rock Detective
Weather (Lessons 7-9)
  • Sun and Weather
  • Air and Weather
  • Water and Weather
  • Rotation and Weather
  • Land and Weather
  • Clouds
  • The Speed of Light, Sound and Wind
The Plant Kingdom (Lessons 10-12)
  • Plants
  • Photosynthetic Plants
  • Fungus Plants
  • Trees
  • Plant Ecology
The Animal Kingdom (Lessons 13-21)
  • Insects
  • Spiders
  • Introduction
  • Fish
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Zoo Adventure
  • Amphibians
Animal Anatomy and Physiology (Lessons 22-26)
  • Animal Structure
  • Animal Food Chain
  • Animal Reproduction/Genetics
  • Animal Instinct, Vision and Brains
  • Animal Ecology
  • Extinction
  • Whales
Man:  Made in God's Image (Lessons 27-36)
  • Man - Reproductive system
  • The Cell
  • Man--Skeletal System
  • Man--Digestive System
  • Man--Circulatory System
  • Man--Respiratory System
  • Man--Nervous System
  • Man--Integumentary System
  • Man--Endocrine System and Excretory System
  • Man--Muscular System
  • Scientists
  • Reviews
  • Additional Resource Suggestions
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Answers to Word Searches
  • Answers to Crossword Reviews
The lesson plans in the Teacher's Manual are easy to follow and very comprehensive. Another great part of the program is that materials needed to teach the lessons and do the activities are minimal and inexpensive. 

Peek at the plan in the Teacher's Manual for Lesson 1:
Preparation: Items needed.
Vocabulary: Definitions of terms "consider" and "creation".
Introduction: General overview of the study of God's creation.
Song/Poem: And God Was Pleased!
      On the first day of creation,
      God made the dark and light,
      And He called it day and night.
      And God was pleased.
(The poem then continues through each of the days of creation.)
Bible Reading: Scriptures for your student to look up.
Notebook: This section is for doing some special projects throughout the program (pop-up pages, little booklets, "Detective" pages)
Evolution Stumpers: Scientific facts that support creation and question evolution.
Review: Review questions and answers.
Digging Deeper: Suggestions for further activities, research and related materials.(such as write a newspaper article to evidence for creation, write a book report on a book about creation, visit the Creation Evidence Museum, etc.)

Our thoughts: 
My 14 year old daughter really liked the setup and activities of this program.  Not often do I hear her say curriculum is "really cool".  She really liked the topics covered, the variety and the activities.  According to her "this is fun!"  The notebooking is new to us, but she actually wanted to do it even though she's not fond of writing.

I really liked the Teacher's Manual too.  Except to review before sitting with her to do a lesson, there really was very little preparation required of me.  This was a great time-saver.  I only worked with one child, but I can see how this would be a great program for someone with multiple ages to teach.  The material covers soooo much.  This will probably be one we use again for review.  If I had several children using the program at the same time I would probably get each child a workbook so that I wouldn't have to do so much copying.  I do, however,  like that it is permissible to copy the materials for your immediate family.  The songs on the CD are catchy and helpful, even if they are a little simple.  All in all this is a really creative and biblical way to teach science to elementary and even older students.  The price of this program is incredibly cheap for what you get.  This is definitely a good one to check out.

Click here to listen to CD excerpts
Click here to see Student and Teacher's Manual Sample Pages 

Click here to order Considering God's Creation from Eagle's Wings

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free copy of these materials (Workbook, Teacher's Manual and CD) to use in order to provide a review of the materials. I received no further compensation. I was not obligated to provide a positive review.

Click here for more TOS Review Crew reviews.


Click here  to see other products from Eagle's Wings (Remembering God's Awesome Acts, Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals, Alphabet Island Phonics 1 and 2, Remembering God's Chosen Children, Kinder-Math and others) 

Some Great Links

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